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When it comes to sports in America, no league is as important as the National Football League. America's gridiron game is a way of life for folks all around the country, and fans will do just about anything to catch their team in person or get their hands on the latest jerseys and merchandise. That's easy to see in the TV ratings, which the NFL dominates: when it comes to sports on TV, the NFL is king. So perhaps it's not surprising that cable companies are holding out hope that the NFL will help them fight cord cutting. Unfortunately for them, it's easy to watch the NFL online — and even for free — without cable. Today, we're here to show you how to watch NFL games without cable. We'll lay out everything you need to know in order to catch the games live and watch the NFL, no cable required.

Here are a few of our favorite ways to stream NFL games:

  Price Channels Free Trial  
$5.99 – $85.96 68 – 88 7 or 30 days

See Offer

$39.99 – $44.99 85 – 100+ 7 days

See Offer

$25 – $40 32 – 52 7 days

See Offer

What Channels Are NFL Games On?

In order to give you access to the NFL without cable, we're going to show you how to watch TV without cable. Specifically, we're going to talk about how to access the channels that have the NFL coverage that you crave. So, naturally, we should first take a moment to figure out which channels those are.

On Sundays, the days games air on CBS and Fox. Sunday Night Football airs on NBC. Monday Night Football currently belongs to ESPN, and Thursday Night Football airs on CBS and streams on various websites, depending on the NFL's latest content deal.

So we primarily have four channels to worry about: CBS, Fox, NBC, and ESPN. We'll also look at NFL Network, which sometimes has exclusive games. Getting all of those will ensure that you catch every NFL game of the season, including playoff games and the Super Bowl. So how can we watch all of these channels — and therefore watch NFL games — without cable? Read on!

How to Watch NFL Games Online and Over the Air Without Cable

There are two main strategies for watching TV without cable that we at Cordcutting.com like to focus on. The first is free over-the-air TV, which we'll explain in more detail when we get to the relevant section of our list below. The second is the “skinny bundle,” or live TV streaming service, which accounts for a bunch of the entries on our list below. To avoid repeating ourselves every time skinny bundles appear on our list, let's spend a moment now going over what, exactly, a skinny bundle actually is.

Skinny bundles offer TV fans the same thing that cable and satellite companies do: live TV. A skinny bundle service is a multichannel service, which means that it gives you access to a bunch of different live channels. You'll recognize the networks, which are familiar ones like AMC, TBS, HGTV, and — happily for our purposes here — CBS, Fox, NBC, and ESPN. The channel lineups vary a bit from service to service, but the selections tend to be good.

You'll have to pay if you want a skinny bundle subscription, but the prices are much better than cable. Plus, skinny bundles trim down the bulky cable bundles, earning their nicknames by offering subscribers nothing-but-the-hits selections of top-notch channels. Unlike cable, skinny bundles won't force you to pay for channels you don't even watch.

Part of the reason skinny bundles are so innovative is that they're streaming online. Without regional cable monopolies, they're forced to actually compete for your business. Imagine that! On top of this, the fact that skinny bundles are streaming services means that you can watch them on all sorts of different devices. Want to watch NFL games on the go? With a skinny bundle, you can.

Our list below will cover all of the best ways to watch NFL games online and over-the-air without cable. We'll start with a bunch of skinny bundles, and then we'll move on to cover other streaming services and free over-the-air TV. Are you ready? Here's how to watch NFL games without cable.

Stream NFL games for free with Hulu

Free Trial

Hulu + Live TV offers a live TV channels and also includes access to on-demand content from Hulu's longstanding SVOD (subscription video on demand) service. The channel bundle on offer here includes CBS, Fox, and NBC (in select markets) as well as ESPN, so you'll be ready to watch all the NFL you want without cable if you grab yourself a Hulu + Live TV subscription. Not sure if it's right for you? No worries: Hulu + Live TV offers a free trial.

Stream NFL games for free with fuboTV

Free Trial

fuboTV markets itself as a great skinny bundle choice for sports fans, and it does a reasonable job of making NFL games available to cord cutters. fuboTV offers CBS, Fox, and NBC in select markets. fuboTV also has NFL Network. It is, unfortunately, missing ESPN — a pretty major oversight for a sports centric skinny bundle. Still, fuboTV makes a great way to watch the NFL online. fuboTV offers a free trial, which you can snag via the link in this section.

Stream NFL games with Sling TV

Try It

Sling TV offers two base packages; subscribers can choose one or both of those and can then add on “Extras,” which are themed mini-bundles of add-on content. That makes it easy to build a cost-effective bundle that will net you ESPN and NFL Network. Unfortunately, as of this writing, Sling TV offers only limited access to some major networks in select markets.

AT&T TV Now

AT&T TV Now offers a lot of great channels, including many of the ones we need in order to watch the NFL without cable: CBS, Fox, and NBC (each in select markets), plus ESPN. The only one we're missing here is NFL Network. Whichever AT&T TV Now bundle you choose, you can snag a free trial to test-drive the service for free.

YouTube TV

YouTube TV offers CBS, Fox, and NBC in select markets, and it also has ESPN in its lone bundle option. YouTube TV lacks NFL Network, though. You can check out YouTube TV for free by clicking on the link in this section and signing up for the service's free trial offer.

Free over-the-air TV

Free over-the-air TV is one of the most powerful tools in any cord-cutter's arsenal. With nothing more than an antenna and a TV, you can pick up broadcast stations in your area. And you know what stations are broadcast stations? CBS, Fox, and NBC, to name a few! An over-the-air antenna will net you every Sunday game all season long. It will allow you to watch NFL playoff games and the Super Bowl, too. That's a pretty amazing dose of NFL games for free without cable!

You can even turn your OTA setup into a streaming one with the aid of an OTA DVR or a PC TV tuner. With this strategy, you can do something that even skinny bundles won't let you do: stream NFL games free online, legally.

CBS All Access

CBS All Access is a service aimed at CBS superfans. Subscribers get access to on-demand content from CBS. More importantly for our purposes here, a CBS All Access subscription will give subscribers in select markets access to a live feed of their local CBS station. That's one way to watch CBS NFL games online! Check out the service by clicking the link below and signing up for CBS All Access' free trial offer.

NFL Mobile

The NFL's mobile app is essential this year, because the league is allowing mobile users to stream live local games for free. Once a Verizon exclusive, this live streaming is now for everyone with an iOS or Android smartphone as long as they're within their team's market. Local and nationally televised games are both included. This solution is small-screen only, but it's a huge leap for the NFL in the cord-cutting era. In addition to NFL Mobile, you can also use the Yahoo Sports app to stream these same games.

Can I Watch NFL Games on Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, or Chromecast?

Whan you watch the NFL without cable, you aren't limited to watching it on just one TV. The beauty of cord-cutting solutions (besides all the money you save) is that they empower you to watch what you want when you want – and on almost any device you choose.

So can you watch NFL games on Roku? Can you watch NFL games on Fire TV? What about Apple TV? Yes, yes, yes: the services and techniques we listed above will play nice with your favorite streaming devices.

Roku users can watch NFL games with Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV, Sling TV, AT&T TV Now, and YouTube TV.

Fire TV users can use Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV, Sling TV, AT&T TV Now, and YouTube TV.

Apple TV? You guys get the whole gang: Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV, Sling TV, AT&T TV Now, and YouTube TV.

Chromecast gets full support, too. Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV, Sling TV, AT&T TV Now, and YouTube TV all have apps that work with Chromecast devices.

Android TV supports Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV, Sling TV, and YouTube TV (but not AT&T TV Now, at least for the time being).

Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV, Sling TV, AT&T TV Now, and YouTube TV also have iOS and Android mobile apps. Each of them also has desktop and/or in-browser apps that make it easy to watch NFL games online on your desktop or laptop computer.

Even video games sytems work. Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, and YouTube TV work on Xbox. Hulu + Live TV has an app for PlayStation.

What about OTA? Well, you don't need a streaming device to use OTA devices, but you can add a PC TV tuner or an OTA DVR to the mix in order to stream your OTA content on platforms that include the ones we listed above.

CBS All Access has great platform support, too. It works on Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, mobile devices, and desktop and laptop computers.

One thought on “How to Watch NFL Games Without Cable

  1. Dennis says:

    This article was very good for those fans of a local area team. Is there any skinny bundle that will give you games outside your local area? I know DirecTV does, but it is way too expensive (NFL Sunday Ticket).

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